How to watch Charlottetown City Council on a Mac

One of the outcomes of the erstwhile “smart communities” project in Charlottetown is streaming video of City Council meetings. Unfortunately the technology used for the broadcasting is proprietary Microsoft Windows Media-based, which, among other things, makes it very difficult for non-Windows users to watch the videos. But there are ways.

On an Intel Mac (i.e. a relatively modern Mac, not an older Power PC-based one) here’s what you need to do:

  1. Install rev11 of MPlayer for OS X. Note that this isn’t the current version of MPlayer for OS X, it’s the previous revision. But it’s the only one that will work, at least for the time-being.
  2. From the main MPlayer site, download and install the “Binary Codec Packages” for “Mac OS X x86” – right now the link is this one.
  3. Use MPlayer to open the links to videos you find here – like mms://, for example.

The video and audio quality are atrocious – it’s not clear how much of this is due to MPlayer and how much of it is due to the quality of the original broadcast. Oh, and you can neither rewind nor fast forward. Here’s what it looks like when it’s working:


Jonathan M. Lane's picture
Jonathan M. Lane on December 17, 2009 - 23:39 Permalink

Hi Peter,

I was wondering if you know the reason why you have to user Revision 11 of MPlayer for Mac OS X in specific for the MMS playback to work? I ask because myself and Ben Wedge ( were trying to work out a solution for watching the City Council stream on Macs. We were trying to use Flip4Mac + Quicktime and VLC, but did not get very far.

Just trying to see if maybe I can find the issue in specific that requires that specific build of MPlayer so I can get a copy of VLC (since I am already using it) instead that is compatible. Rather not download another application for this one use alone. Any info you can provide would be great.

Thanks for posting the workaround,


Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on December 18, 2009 - 16:21 Permalink

It says here (emphasis mine):

Installing the binary codec pack for your architecture will add support for additional proprietary codecs. For x86 (Intel), those include WMV9, RealVideo 10, QuickTime and others. For PPC they only include the Real Codecs. The x86 codec pack will not work with 64bit MPlayer. The easiest way to force Extended to use 32bit version is to use rev11, for the time being.

What you need to make VLC do (assuming it’s possible) is support the WMV9 codec.


Jonathan M. Lane's picture
Jonathan M. Lane on December 18, 2009 - 22:54 Permalink

Thanks for the information. That makes sense. I was attempting to get WMV9 support working with QT, but that might be more work than necessary.

Pierre Doiron's picture
Pierre Doiron on December 30, 2009 - 00:57 Permalink

Not a comment….I can’t find any other way to get to you!!

Might you have a 2010 levée schedule for the Charlottetown area. I will be a designated driver and taking 10 — 14 people to them.

Anonymouscoward11's picture
Anonymouscoward11 on January 21, 2010 - 15:02 Permalink

Thanks, really helped me out

Anonymouscoward11's picture
Anonymouscoward11 on January 21, 2010 - 15:03 Permalink

great post, thank youª